Do the Charedim Care About the Dati Leumi?

The title of this post is intended to ask a question, not to provide the answer. I am in Israel for most of the summer and this is an extraordinarily painful time for many, specifically those who identify with Dati Leumi. The obvious reason is the Gaza withdrawal.

Although my affiliation is essentially in the charedi sector, notably the yeshiva world, I have long regarded the Dati Leumi people with whom I have contact as individuals blessed with the highest ideals and values, people who exemplify true Torah modesty and who are extraordinarily sincere and careful in their devotion to mitzvos.

It seems to me that the charedi world, at least in Israel, is uncaring about the open wounds being experienced by many Dati Leumi. Is this deliberate? Or perhaps, it is simply that charedim have other interests and problems.

Again, I am just asking a question.

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18 Responses

  1. Gershon Seif says:

    Dr. Schick,

    To say that an entire segment doesn’t care about another entire segment is quite a bold statement.

    How does one measure lack of caring? Is it in not joining in protests? Perhaps many of the leading Rabbis have instructed their followers to not attend those protests. Would that be enough to assume lack of caring?

    I’ve been reading individuals’ comments stating that they cannot understand why any Rabbi wouldn’t be in complete agreement with the opposition to the disengagement. You however, Dr. Schick, who have written on many occasions about allegiance to our Gedolim, can’t possibly mean that line of questioning. You would respect the view of rabbinic leaders that have made calculated decisions, even if you might not agree with their decisions.

    So where is the lack of caring? Is it what you’re picking up in casual conversations? Can you elaborate?

  2. Moshe says:

    Dr. Schick,

    Regardless of the answer to your question, the sad thing is that the question even needs to be asked.

  3. Toby Katz says:

    “It seems to me that the charedi world, at least in Israel, is uncaring about the open wounds being experienced by many Dati Leumi.”

    In my experience it’s just the opposite, many Orthodox Jews who are more on the left are quite callous about the sufferings of the residents of Gush Katif, while the chareidim I know are universally sympathetic and in many cases heart-broken about what is happening to the Jews of Gush Katif–especially the way they are being demonized by the secular Israeli press (something chareidim certainly have much experience with).

    There is no consensus among chareidim about whether withdrawal is the right or the wrong thing to do from a policy point of view (both sides of the debate have strong arguments), but there is universal sympathy for the plight of the residents. People who built beautiful communities with great mesirus nefesh are treated by the secular left as if they are criminals, because they don’t want to give up their homes. And as I say, the chareidim I know, both in America and in Israel, have great sympathy for the residents of Gush Katif, and disdain for the secular leftist press.

  4. Sholom Simon says:

    Just a guess:

    Is it that there is a form of “religious political correctness” which creates pressure on the religious to refrain from pubilcly admitting that they do not disagree with withdrawal?

    Further, it’s hard to get across the message (for someone disposed of this view) that “we care about you [in Gaza], we know it’s heart-wrenching, we know it’s unfair” and combine it with, “but we think it’s the proper course of action for the greater good.”

    And so . . . many just keep quiet about the whole thing.

    As I prefaced: this is just a guess (gathered from reading various views on the matter)

  5. Edvallace says:

    Mr. Schick,

    If your goal as a writer is to be provovative I’d say you have a great future. If you’re intent on making a valid point, I think you’ve left much to be desired in this post.

    “Although my affiliation is essentially in the charedi sector, notably the yeshiva world, I have long regarded the Dati Leumi people with whom I have contact as individuals blessed with the highest ideals and values, people who exemplify true Torah modesty and who are extraordinarily sincere and careful in their devotion to mitzvos.”

    You’re welcome to your opinion but I’d strongly disagree with your contention. Many of them deserve enormous respect and are men of great ideals and values but I firmly believe that there is an equally great number [and many more] in the Chareidi camp about whom that could and should be said.

    “It seems to me that the charedi world, at least in Israel, is uncaring about the open wounds being experienced by many Dati Leumi. Is this deliberate? Or perhaps, it is simply that charedim have other interests and problems.”

    I’m not in Israel so I can’t comment on what Chareidim there are doing but from what I’ve seen in the American Chareidi camp, there’s been plenty of sympathy for the Dati LeUmi expressed in a myriad of ways. The Yated Neeman, which I assume qualifies as a Chareidi paper, has written extensively on the disengagement in the most sympathetic ways and the letters to the editor by and large express those sentiments as well.

    Should they be wearing orange bowties to express sympathy? I don’t see many MO people in the US doing that, and it doesn’t help much either.

    Bear in mind that many Chareidim have never been big believers in the settler movement in the first place. That doesn’t mean that they don’t feel the pain of people who are coming to a sad and bitter reality that the State of Israel considers them expendable and worthless and being uprooted from their homes, but a great many Chareidim actually support the plan in principle.

    Furthermore, I’ll wager that many Chareidim secretly hope that once the DL crowd finally sees the secular State for what it is, it’ll align itself more closely with the Chareidim and as a unified group, they’ll be much more effective in promoting their common ideas and values [they do share many of those by the way] than they were previously.

    In short, there’s many sides to this coin and your highly generalized post hardly touches on any of them.

  6. Shragie says:

    Mr. Schick,

    While I agree that the silence is disturbing I think “uncaring” might be too sharp to describe the apparent apathy. While it is true that the demonstrations and such were not populated by the haredim (except chabad) it is not necessarily because they are callous. The haredim did not attend because there were no endorsements. The march on Washington attests to that, I would venture to say that if haredim had a proper venue more people would seem to care. I believe “lost” would be a more precise adjective.

  7. Netanel Livni says:


    Why do people need an endorsement in order to attend a rally? And if they do need rabbinic instruction in order to publicly protest Sharon’s policies, then why don’t the chareidi rabbanim endorse a show of solidarity?

    The real test of this will be if and when Kiryat Sefer and Beitar will be on the table. Will the Da’at torah change when the Yeshiva’s and homes slated for desctruction are chareidi?


  8. Moshe Hillson says:

    Dear Dr. Schick,

    Let me ask the opposite question: Were the Dati Leumi (National Religious) folks sympathetic to the Haredim when the Haredim were in distress?

    Let me answer from the vantage point of one who is in daily contact with both (among other) sectors of the Israel public:

    The Dati Leumi crowd is not a homogenous group – there is a broad spectrum of views among them. But I can say that on the average, those of them who regularly view television and secular newspapers were more inclined to have negative views of Haredim than those who shunned TV and secular papers. (In general, the “settlers” are more represented by the latter, while the former group are more heavily represented by the bourgeouis “settled” class living within the “Green Line”).

    In fact, I remember the glee some of them had when the Tommy Lapid’s Shinui party joined the Israeli government. A few of my colleagues reacted with glee that matched the glee of the average Shinui voter! This caused great resentment among the Haredi public, who felt betrayed over lack of reciprocity for the sympathy they had for the National Religious the previous time they were demonized (after the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin). This may have chilled the willingness of the Haredim to stand up for the National Religious in their current crisis.

    This is unfortunate, since this is a test by G-d to see if we are willing to undo the sectarian hatred that caused the destruction of the Temple. Who knows, maybe passing this test will be sufficient to bring the Redemption! What can we do? Pray for them at the end of every Shemone Esrei prayer!

  9. Shira Schmidt says:

    28 b Tamuz

    Dr. Schick Shalom.

    From what you wrote, I assume that you were at the rally of 30,000 against the disengagement in Sderot Tuesday night, and/or you were in Ofakim where the rally continued Thursday. I was there,and would have liked to make your acquaintance.

    I went there even though (as I wrote in Cross-currents July 22) I have always been against the settlement movement for theological and practical reasons (a la Rav Shach ztz”l). I went because I do empathize with the distress of the settlers (mityashvim) and agree that they are demonized. I went because I respect their modesty, family values,Torah learning, work ethic, love of the Land (though I disagree about where to put the emphasis). In Sderot and Ofakim you had a gathering a thousands, in family groups, babies, toddlers, adolescents, grandparents. Dozens of groups davening, people studying the parasha in between the speeches. And search as I might, I did not see one exposed midriff – something all too common in Eretz Yisrael in the summer. What I did see were many haredim. Haaretz had a good summary of haredi attitudes to the disengagement – see “Pale Orange” by Tamar Rotem .

  10. Baruch says:

    Good Question Dr. Schick. The issue of the disengagement should bother all torah jews not only Dati Leumi. What you write is correct if a certain segment of torah do not want to come out to demonstrations. There are other ways to show that they care and are hurt by what is going on. Now it is difficult to get into Gush Katif but people should write the people of Gush Katif and write them letters of support to give them the strength to continue what they are doing.

    I hope that your letter will awaken a large segment of torah jews and together we can daven that this terrible thing will be cancelled and will merit to see the rebuilding of the temple.

  11. Shragie says:


    Generally, haredim functions are executed via endorsements – that’s the way it is. Endorsing a demonstration is endorsing a political view. This justification can mitigate the situation.

    Having said that, even if expulsion is the proper route it is irrelevant. Ten thousand lives are soon to be devastated and we go on like nothing is happening. What bothers me, and ostensibly Marvin Schick, is if haredim (including myself) use teshuva tefilah and tzedaka to accomplish things where are the mass assemblies for tehilim and the like? How about an extra kapital after davening (paragraph of psalms after prayers)?

    It’s the inaction that is so disturbing. You can make excuses for not demonstrating, not getting involved but if you do nothing that screams volumes. If my own flesh and blood brother were in pain I would use any force to stop it – with or without any endorsement. If I do nothing I am only left with excuses.

  12. Baruch says:

    Tomorrow at the kotel at 5:30pm there is going to be a tefila lets see if the masses come out. I agree with your comments that it is the inaction that is very bothersome. Let us daven and hear only good news.

  13. ben meir says:

    I think a distinction has to be made between the DL and the settlers, I am not sure that they are one and the same. The settlers are shomrei Torah – maybe even Kdoshim – but not every Chardalnik is a settler. Beit Shemesh does not equal Neve Dekalim.
    That said I believe you have correctly identified an interesting phenomena, there are few ideological differences between the DL and Charedim. I believe what the DL stand for and believe in, is awfully close to where the charedi world will eventually evolve. This is true on almost any level. Economically, the current charedi model is listing. Nachal Charedi is just a first step. Ideologically, visit any charedi Yeshiva in E”Y and while the Medina and the IDF are demonized on an institutional basis, there is a tremendous amount of pride (and maybe a little Kochu V’Otzem Yadi) and identification amongst the population with the government. The average Charedi is way more engaged in the body politic than most US citizens. I think as more American Charedim move to Israel, this bifurcation will disappear and you will see a stronger bond develop. The average American working “yeshivaman” has more in common with the DL than with the absolute Charedim in E’Y.

  14. Netanel Livni says:


    How can you be against the settlements when you live in the settlement of Netanya? You are of course aware that your presence there is every bit as much a provocation to the nations of the world as the Jews in Aza.

  15. Yaakov Rosenblatt, Dallas says:

    Dr. Schick,

    We can say invoke platitudes, but the truth, I think, is this: We do care about them. And we pain when we see them in pain. But as a community we are focused inward. Perhaps too much so. Individuals express their concern and attend the rallies. But most of our tzibur keeps its mind and voice within the wonderful frum community it has built.

  16. Yaakov Menken says:

    Please see my latest post for one Rosh Yeshiva’s statement about how everyone must feel about the individuals forced to abandon their homes during disengagement — most of whom are Dati Leumi.

    It is not charedim who are celebrating disengagement — far from it.

    Shragie, there was a mass assembly for Tehillim here in Baltimore a few days ago. Despite the long lull in violence, most of the shuls that started saying “an extra kapital after davening” at the height of the Intifada (in accordance with statements from the gedolim) are still doing so. All of the things you have called for to demonstrate sharing the pain of the Gaza residents (and others) are, in fact, happening. Perhaps not as widespread as they should be, but happening nonetheless.

  17. Moshe says:

    The tide seems to be turning – see this thread:

    It discusses a massive prayer rally at the Kotel next Wednesday, and the people behind it allegedly are Rabbis Meir and Menachem Porush.

    Here are links to the pictures of the posters:

  18. Marty Bluke says:

    A very simple question, why did the the Ashkenazi Charedi parties (which are led by the Gedolim, first and foremost R’ Elyashiv) help Sharon pass the budget and why are they still in the government? Actions speak louder then words and by staying in the government they are broadcasting a clear message that disengagement is not so bad, otherwise how could they continue in the government that is doing such a terrible thing?

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